Ken Jackson thinks so.
“Part of our hope is that by our success we start bringing a lot of other technology companies and service businesses to Amherst,” said Jackson, director of business development with Earthrise Creative Labs. “Say we get lucky and we turn into a $100-million company, we’re going to need accountants, we’re going to need designers, and we’re going to need all kinds of developers.”
Earthrise Creative Labs launched their See Why We Love It website last week inside their headquarters at the old Scotiabank building in downtown Amherst.
The launch focused on their Community Spotlight and Business Directory, but also highlighted what is to come in the following months – and years.
The new project is designed to create connections between people and small businesses, such as organic farmers in small communities like Amherst and Cumberland County, as opposed to the worldwide, big-business networks created by Facebook.
See Why We Love It also focuses on keeping money in the community.
“All the money is at the (top) one per cent. We want to flip that pyramid upside down,” said Jackson. “One of our mission statements is to keep 90 per cent all transactions that happen on the site here in the local community. The whole point of the site is to make you more engaged with the community.”
Brett Mason, president and founder of Earthrise Creative Labs, talked about how the website will, eventually, connect like-minded neighbors and, also, be a disruptor in fields such crowd-funding, employment, accommodation and transportation.
“We see a lot of crowd-funding projects, Kick Starter and otherwise, but the platforms are not invested entirely in our neighbors,” said Mason. “We can provide a crowd-funding platform on a micro scale with events and projects linked to it.”
The website also provides peer-to-peer employment.
“If a lady needed her attic cleaned, the job is posted and people can bid on that project,” said Mason. “Otherwise she would go to a contractor who has to upsell on that and her invoice would be $350 instead of $60 to have her attic cleaned.”
Accommodation and Transportation
Mason said the website could provide Uber-like and airbnb-like services.
“Within two or three days we can have Uber running in Amherst here, same with airbnb or any of these technologies, no sweat,” said Mason.
“Now the question is, should those services exist under the See Why We Love It brand, and through the See Why We Love It app,” he added. “I say yes. It’s easy for us to do, so I don’t see why we couldn’t push that through as a brand through peer-to-peer services.”
See Why We Love It is a pilot project that, if successful, will be used to market and expand to the rest of the Maritimes, Canada and North America.
Amherst mayor, Dr. David Kogon, hopes the new website can create an entrepreneurial renaissance in Amherst.
“We all know at the municipal level that trying to get some huge industry with 500 employees to come to Amherst is not very likely to happen,” said Kogon. “It’s the locally owned businesses that are going to make our communities economy survive, and if this one way of helping that happen, then we’re all for it.”
For more information go to seewhyweloveit.com